A NEW gym has been set up by the parents of children who have had or are going to have life-changing surgery to get them back on their feet.
Children from the North East who have undergone selective dorsal rhizotomy were all smiles yesterday as they enjoyed their new gym at the Riverside Business Park in Blyth, Northumberland.
Selective dorsal rhizotomy is a pioneering operation used for children with cerebral palsy. It involves electrically stimulating muscles to the spine to help them walk well.
Archie Anderson, six, from Ashington, Callum Brown, eight, from Seaton Sluice, Ben Elliott, seven, from Forest Hall, and Lily Gordon, seven, from North Shields, all have cerebral palsy. To help assist with their rehabilitation their parents decided to pool resources and have set up their own gym thanks to the generous donation of premises from Steve Jones, managing director of HTL in Blyth.
The families have equipped the gym themselves with the latest state-of-the-art machines and equipment that their children need.
Little Lily was one of the first in the region to visit America for the life-changing surgery in 2011 and she is doing well.
Her mother Joanne, 40, an accountant, who has another daughter Katie, 10, said: “The new gym is great and it’ll really help the children.
“All the equipment that we need is at the gym, and our houses now have more space as we don’t need to have the equipment at home.
“The children can get bored using the equipment on their own so by having the gym it means that they can go together and encourage each other.”
The unit space in Blyth has been donated for 12 months and will significantly help with the youngsters’ rehabilitation.
Callum, who suffers from diplegic cerebral palsy, will travel to St Louis on January 22 for his selective dorsal rhizotomy operation.
Mother-of-one Sharon, a teaching assistant, said: “It was my idea to set up the gym, and it will really help Callum when he gets back from America after having had his operation.
“It is also great for the parents to meet up as we get advice and encouragement from each other.
“Callum uses the gym three times a week, and I have already seen a huge improvement in him.”